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  • Elizabeth Galvan Ortiz

To Be a Novice

After receiving my very first SLR camera last year for my birthday, I was extremely excited to get going on my photography portfolio. I instantly imagined myself amongst the well known island photographers and maybe one day be blessed enough to be known amongst the top one thousand (10 thousand, if I was lucky) around the world! Boy, was I hit with a harsh reality!

For as long as I can remember, I have always documented my life through photography. Whether it be through disposal cameras (oh, how I miss those), polaroid cameras, sticker cameras, endless digital cameras and cell phone cameras, I just couldn't get enough. In my bio page I talk about falling in love with photography after my mom passed away in 1997 and facing the reality of not seeing her face, smelling her scent or hearing her bright personality in person anymore. I was now going to imagine her, maybe even smell her scent through those photographs taken years prior. That, for me is truly mesmerizing and powerful. Now, with all my "obvious" camera experience under my imaginary belt, I felt like I could simply walk right into photography. How hard could it be right? Smile & Shoot! -- (Insert arrogant shrug here)

From the very first moment I opened my brand new Nikon D3200 SLR, I felt like a pro. If my camera had a mind (I seriously think it secretly does), I believe my camera would just look right at me and say, "alright Elizabeth, I am going to kick your butt"! Between learning what those photography acronyms meant like ISO, aperture and shutter speed or learning how lighting affected my pictures, what poses to use and ofcourse the endless upon endless hours of editing photos you first thought were great, really weren't. Regardless of what you saw looking at your tiny screen on the back of your camera. I seriously had no idea what I was getting into. I remember buying the book "Photography for Dummies" and not feeling one bit embarrassed of it! Browsing through hours of youtube videos, up passed my bedtime and then some, trying to figure out what all the buttons on the top of my camera were and maybe even pick up a thing or two of how they work.

I am a fighter! Maybe it has to do with that mentality instilled in me from childhood of always pushing just one more time or because I wanted to show my husband that his very well-thoughtout gift was worth it. I just simply refuse to give up. I have reached out to some of our local, fairly- known (and with far more experience) photographers than myself for some much needed pointers and advice. I didn't, and still struggle now, to view photography as a business. The reality, however, is that photography is a business. Like any great art in the world, passion is what began it but money eventually drives it. And well, some aren't as kind to show how they became part of the "elite club". That may be great for some but for me, photography is a passion and the more I see the result in my photos and the reactions of my trusting close friends and clients, the more I fall in love. Fortunately, I have found some solice in a few photographers on island. Photographers like Lorena Trivino of LCT Photography and Richard Motta of Richard Motta Photography have been a blessing. They have answered my many, many annoying text messages and calls with my never-ending nagging about whether I have done something right or not. Thanks a lot guys!

It's been just 15 months since I got Mr. Nikon and although he has been a bit confusing and complicated at times, he has also brought enormous joy and memories by the click of the shutter button. Although I admit, our relationship is still in its "puppy love" stage where things are fun and awkward at the same time, I hope to one day be able to be summoned with the photography greats.... Until then, I will continue learning, reading, watching, posing, editing and clicking until it feels right and that 'right' turns into amazing! ! !


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